Travel Alert Government Raises Destination to Level Four Status

Travel Alert: Government Raises Destination to Level Four Status

By Letisha Jaramillo, March 21, 2024

Image source: Unsplash

Escalating Crisis in Haiti

Haiti, renowned for its stunning beaches and a stop on Caribbean cruises, has faced a shift in its reputation due to rising gang violence and political turmoil. In recent years, the island nation, bordering the Dominican Republic, has been marked by instability.

Since March began, a prominent gang leader has led an armed uprising against Prime Minister Ariel Henry. This rebellion has involved seizing government buildings, overtaking police stations, and releasing inmates from prisons to bolster their cause. Despite Henry’s formal resignation announcement via video on March 11, clashes between rival gangs persist, plunging the country into chaos.

With Haiti’s current volatile conditions deterring potential tourists, the U.S. State Department has taken decisive action. It issued a formal warning advising against travel to the country. Additionally, it strongly urges all American citizens currently in Haiti to depart at the earliest opportunity.

Travel Advisory and Security Concerns:

The U.S. State Department employs a comprehensive ranking system for foreign countries, categorizing them from Level One, signaling ‘Exercise Normal Precautions,’ to Level Four, typically reserved for regions resembling active war zones or under authoritarian rule. Haiti, grappling with a surge in political gang violence, has maintained a Level Four advisory since July 2023. However, recent developments have compelled the government to reiterate its cautionary stance to potential travelers.

A significant concern highlighted by the State Department is the prevalence of kidnapping, with U.S. citizens frequently falling victim to such crimes. Kidnappers exhibit a range of tactics, from sophisticated planning to seizing impromptu opportunities. Even convoys have not been immune to attacks, underscoring the pervasive risk.

Moreover, travelers departing from the Port-au-Prince international airport face an immediate threat of violence and robbery. Incidents have been reported where individuals are followed and assaulted shortly after leaving the airport premises. The risks extend beyond urban areas, with robberies and carjackings occurring frequently, particularly targeting lone drivers, including women, amidst heavy traffic congestion.

Against the backdrop of political unrest, Haiti declared a state of emergency in early March. Responding to the heightened security concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti issued a travel alert, urging caution. They emphasized the unpredictable and dangerous nature of the current security situation, advising travelers to exercise extreme vigilance.

Embassy’s Response and Safety Measures:

Embassy Issues Warning and Urges Registration Amidst Escalating Crisis in Haiti As the security situation in Haiti worsens, the U.S. Embassy has issued a stark warning, prompting those within the country to take immediate precautions. With several embassy staff ordered to depart earlier this week, the urgency of the situation is underscored by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s emergency meeting in Jamaica with other high-level officials and heads of state to address the crisis.

Acknowledging the severe limitations on its ability to assist citizens in leaving the country safely, the Embassy has urged all individuals currently in Haiti to register on its crisis intake form, available on its website. Emphasizing the scarcity of viable commercial departure options, the Embassy implores U.S. citizens to utilize any available means of leaving Haiti as they arise.

In the interim, the Embassy advises heightened vigilance for those in Port-au-Prince and other areas of Haiti, urging individuals to remain aware of their surroundings, avoid large gatherings, and be prepared for the possibility of prolonged sheltering in place if violence erupts unexpectedly.

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Letisha Jaramillo
Letisha Jaramillo

Hey there, I'm Letisha Jaramillo, a Mexican blogger who loves to share my experiences and insights about lifestyle, travel, and resources. Through my blog, Road To The Unknown, I offer helpful tips and advice to inspire fellow travelers and adventure-seekers. Join me on this exciting journey and let's discover the unknown together!

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